Men’s and women’s track and field are breaking outdoor track and field program records with one meet left before the Atlantic 10 Championships.
Over the weekend, 12 different Colonials set personal-best records at the Larry Ellis Invitational in Princeton, N.J. Friday and the Gallaudet University Invitational in D.C. Saturday.
“Everything points to the spring season, how we set up our training and how we do everything year-round,” head coach Terry Weir said. “What we try to do is run our fastest this time of year.”
On the women’s side, the Colonials finished third out from a field of six with 57 points. The men’s side came in fourth out of eight teams with 62 points. Catholic won the contest on both the men’s and women’s sides, scoring 152 and 150 points, respectively.
The Colonials set four new program records on the men’s side and three on the women’s side so far this season, and a combined 26 runners have set new personal records on the year.
Weir said he tries to encourage his runners to get into a mentality of winning each individual contest rather than focusing on their personal bests, and was satisfied with the level of competition he saw this weekend.
“What we’re always preaching is getting away from ‘how fast can I run and what’s my time’ to ‘let’s beat the guy next to you, let’s beat the girl next to you,’ and even if it’s a slower time or different mark, that’s OK,” he said.
GW sent 18 runners to Gallaudet, where the Colonials competed against Catholic, Hope College, Mary Washington, Howard Community College and Montgomery Community College.
Four GW runners took gold in individual events at Gallaudet. Senior Trevor Sye won the men’s 1,500-meter race with a time of 4:03.81, closely followed by sophomore Paul Hosey at 4:04.60. The Colonials also recorded a one-two finish in the women’s 800-meter race, with senior Malone Gabor and junior Lauren Anderson taking first and second, respectively.
Junior Kelli Stetson won the 5,000-meter race with a time of 19:21.15, after finishing second in the women’s 15,000-meter race.
“She came right down to the wire for the 1,500 and then came back and ran the 5,000 meters and won that,” Weir said. “Running the 5K is more of a workout, but she looked really good.”
Graduate student Matthew Lange recorded a 9:10.65 split in the steeplechase, good for an 11th place finish at Gallaudet. Lange and senior Carter Day are ranked 47th and 27th nationally, respectively, in the steeplechase.
The top 48 steeplechase runners qualify for the NCAA Championships. The last chance to qualify for the national meet is at the Eastern College Athletic Conference May 11 and 12. If Lange and Day hold on to their rankings, they would be the first runners in both men’s and women’s program history to qualify for the national competition.
Last year, senior Miranda DiBiasio narrowly missed qualifying for the national championship after her 34:55.50 finish in the 10,000-meter run at the Raleigh Relays set a program record and positioned her at 60th in the nation.
“We’re still waiting for that first athlete to get in, but I’m feeling pretty confident this year,” Weir said.
At the Larry Ellis Invitational Friday, sophomore Suzanne Dannheim broke the program record for steeplechase with a time of 10:46.26, good for 13th overall. She had previously set the record at the Colonial Relays earlier this month – the first time she ran the event.
Freshman Kathryn Nohilly finished behind Dannheim with a time time of 10:59.76 and qualified for the USA Track and Field Junior Championships in June, the first time in program history GW will send a freshman to the meet. Runners must be between 14 and 19 years of age to compete at the championships. Dannheim, who turned 20 in November, was not eligible for the competition.
Next weekend the Colonials will travel to Philadelphia to compete in the Penn Relays, the oldest track and field competition in the United States.
Weir said before the A-10 Championships, he hopes the team can highlight its strengths on a stage that combines a sizable group of teams and athletes.
“We don’t have a big flashy track and we don’t have all the bells and whistles,” he said. “But we’re starting to develop our kids quickly.”